[One] should always act as if [they] were going to die tomorrow; yet [they] should treat [their] body as if it was going to live for many years. The first cuts off the inclination to listlessness, and makes [one] more diligent; the second keeps [one’s] body sound and [their] self-control well balanced.
~Evagrios Pontikos (Philokalia, vol. 1, p. 53)
With our being focused on God, we can more easily entertain the inevitability of our mortality, and by allowing this to shape our actions and our thoughts every day it can stimulate us to take our lives more seriously—considering how we spend our time, what we think about, how we react to others, and whether we are living to make our home and build our treasures here in this life, or preparing for our heavenly home and placing our treasures with God.
Acknowledging that our death is imminent can bring us into much greater intimacy with our Creator; it acknowledges the truth that this life, no matter how many years we are given, is just a shadow and we don’t have the luxury of putting off the things that truly matter. The day of our death, whether it is literally tomorrow or fifty years from now, will be upon us and we should be prepared.
As for our bodies, the Lord is greatly concerned with these as well as our souls, otherwise the Apostle never would have said, “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. Therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20) or, “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 5:23).
Therefore, if God cares for it, and He has plans for it even into eternity, then we must also care for it. However, not as the world cares for it, enslaved to our body’s appetites or lost in devotion to it, but rather caring for it in a spiritual manner, bringing it under the direction and control of our intellect, so that it is given what it needs for its ongoing health and vitality.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.
3 thoughts on “March 2”
First, I want to say I love Evagrius Ponticus teachings. I was recently introduced to him in the book Time & Despondency. VERY good book.
It has been in the recent year or 2 that I have really become aware of my mortality. This realization has had an incredible impact on my life. I agree with Evagrius Ponticus, I see how it has really inspired me in my own life.
I bought my sister that book about time, I know it has helped a lot of people. Evagrius was also was very influential, I am told, upon my name saint, John Cassian. Thank you for your comment.
Oh…one more thing. I was just reminded of when reading my notes from earlier this week. My first Psalter reading for lent has the perfect verse to make into a prayer for just this…
Look upon me, hear me, O Lord my God; enlighten mine eyes, lest at any time I sleep unto death.
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